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Yimrehanne Kristos

Yimrehane Kristos is a church, situated on 2660m above sea level.

It is a particularly fine example of an Axumite building, 45km away from Lalibela, 1,5h by 4WD or a 7h hike.

Yimrehane Kristos is an unusual church for our region because it’s NOT excavated. The façade was built from alternating wood with stone layers.

Spectacular view on the way down to Yimrehane Kristos from Abune Yosef
Yimrehanne Kristos church (the cave church), Lalibela Ethiopia

It pre-dates Lalibelas churches by up to 80 years. The whole church sits on a foundation of carefully laid olive wood panels above marshy ground.

There are exceptional beautiful carvings and decorations. Behind the church you will find mummified bodies (more than 10thousand) which are supposed to be pilgrims and others. The coffer ceiling has inlaid hexagons and a large dome. It is believed that the 3rd Zagwe ruler- Yimrehane Kristos- let it build.

The water you find there is supposed to be a curative holy water.

Close to the church is YIMREHANE FORREST, which is an ancient Juniper forest with an extension of 44ha. It is the last forest in this area with big trees, the Junipers are grown up to 30m and the forest is sacred to the people.

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